Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

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malcd
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Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby malcd » 26 May 2010, 9:24pm

I have been trying since last Saturday to obtain tickets and a cycle reservation for next week to the Lake District. Being Virgin one has to ring up for a cycle reservation but I wonder if the people answering the phone know what a cycle reervation is since when I first tried to book the agent said I should take the tube between London stations. Anyway after 5 days the tickets failed to arrive so I rang again this morning - there had been a technical fault in processing payment ring again in two hours time, at this point I was given a supposed ticket reference to pick them up at the staion, went along to station - no such reference on the customer database. Ring them up again, at 10p per minute with a long time on hold again- I must have spent about £6 speaking to different people in India about these tickets - agent suggests I undertake the journey by buying tickets at the station. Then I point out to him I would have done but the station cannot reserve cycles on Virgin Trains which is why I rang Virgin in the first place. All this is a huge contrast with East Coast with whom I booked via the web for this weekend and collected without difficulty at the station.

Any ideas how I get a cycle reservation and tickets to Oxenholme or do I use East Coast and the Settle carlisle line to Kirkby Stephen thus avoiding any taint of virgin, who in the meantime have my money!!! :(

broadway
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby broadway » 26 May 2010, 9:56pm

pm me the train details and I will see if I can get them for you tomorrow. If you can let me have your address and I will post them.
Last edited by broadway on 26 May 2010, 9:58pm, edited 1 time in total.

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frank9755
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby frank9755 » 26 May 2010, 9:58pm

Try using the East Coast site. They allow you to make bike reservations on-line (for all operators including Virgin)

Big T
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby Big T » 26 May 2010, 11:55pm

frank9755 wrote:Try using the East Coast site. They allow you to make bike reservations on-line (for all operators including Virgin)


Yes, you can use the East coast site for all train operators, not just East Coast trains. I booked 2 people and 2 bikes from Penzance to Derby last year, using the East Coast site, but the train operator on that route is Cross Country trains.
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petrolmaps
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby petrolmaps » 24 Mar 2017, 9:42pm

It's an old thread, but still seems to be true - you can't (7 years later) book cycles online on Virgin West Coast Trains. And despite the comments above, if you try and book a place on a West Coast service using the Virgin East Coast site, it tells you that all spaces are fully booked - I think whether or not this is actually true!
Oh well, I will have to put the rusty old steed onto London Midland this time...

randonneur
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby randonneur » 24 Mar 2017, 11:09pm

I have used TransPennine Trains website many times to book tickets and cycle reservations on Virgin West Coast trains, no problem what so ever. Tickets delivered to home address for free as well. Can't complain about the service.

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Sweep
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby Sweep » 25 Mar 2017, 2:04pm

Virgin trains west coast is a total pig when it comes to booking bikes. I have complained twice about their incredible backwardness but no sensible reason is ever forthcoming.

I have also been given reference numbers for the bike booking that are not recognised at the collection machine. Luckilly a visit to the ticket office has produced one. I naively thought at first that they had tapped in the number and got it to work. But it became clear that I had just been lucky and that places were free for my ALREADY BOUGHT ticket so they sorted one.

This could have meant that I had paid for a worthless ticket - a ticket for me on a train where I could not take my bike.

Yes you can use the East Coast (bizzarely also run by Virgin) to book a west coast ticket for you and your bike in one go but this does not usually allow you to book tickets for special promotions on the west coast line.

I wanted one of these tickets a couple of weeks ago so I looked online and then walked across town to a ticket office at a small station, delaying folk behind me while I booked the ticket for me and my bike.

Truly pathetic Virgin.

Will report back if I get more sense out of them.

The bizarre thing is, as I have maybe posted before, once you get the tickets out of their awful system the experience of taking a bike on the West Coast Pendolinos is very good and the staff are generally excellent.
Sweep

mercalia
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby mercalia » 25 Mar 2017, 10:36pm

are they the same company, owned by the same people? I know both have Virgin in their name but strange that the ease of the east coast isnt the same on the west?

MTBBob
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby MTBBob » 29 Mar 2017, 6:26am

In four weeks or so I'm travelling up to Scotland to do a 8 day tour, I had intended to get the train ( leave the car with the missus ) but got fed up with trying to make a cycle reservation........they just didn't get it, tried 4 times, was lied to, cut off, on hold for ages, just a nightmare. I want to make sure there is space for a bike before I book my tickets, pointless buying tickets if you then find there is no space.
In the end I have a hired a van from hertz, one way from Shropshire to Glasgow airport depot and then one way back again 8 days later. Its costing me about £80 more than the train but at least I have some certainty.

Shoes
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby Shoes » 29 Apr 2017, 11:54am

I have travelled many times with Virgin and many other train companies with my bike. Beyond a doubt, Virgin is the worst I have experienced at catering efficiently for cycles. What is this business about of not being able to check a cycle space is available before buying a ticket? In the 21st century, that is just ridiculous. Just design the website properly. I do not want to go by train if I cannot take my bike: I will go by the (cheaper) car instead, despite the eco-downsides. For a company that aims its brand at 'cool' and 'tech-savy', this is madness. I have been on a train with a man who could not get his bike OFF the train at the right station (the guard did not turn up to unlock the door!) and he had to cycle back from Birmingham International to Coventry after midnight. Is this user-friendly?

atoz
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby atoz » 16 Jun 2017, 12:23am

Yes I have just noticed this. The website is a joke. I suspect that in my case the issue is that the website cannot distinguish between which part of the journey needs a cycle reservation and which doesn't, and if the answer is no for other companies the website can't handle it and claims you can't reserve the journey. This for a journey on an off peak journey on Saturdays in summer. I have submitted an online enquiry and will phone them. If I don't get an acceptable answer I shall mention the name Jeremy Corbyn to them. They should really love that..

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Sweep
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby Sweep » 16 Jun 2017, 8:14am

atoz wrote:Yes I have just noticed this. The website is a joke. I suspect that in my case the issue is that the website cannot distinguish between which part of the journey needs a cycle reservation and which doesn't,

No - that's not the case. It's just junk full stop.

My journeys on Virgin are all point to point/no changes.

It can't book bikes full stop.

As I've said above, once the ****ing ticket is booked I find taking a bike on a Virgin train a joy.
Sweep

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mjr
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby mjr » 16 Jun 2017, 1:19pm

mercalia wrote:are they the same company, owned by the same people? I know both have Virgin in their name but strange that the ease of the east coast isnt the same on the west?

Wikipedia claims Virgin Trains East Coast is 90% Stagecoach 10% Virgin, whereas Virgin Trains West Coast is 51% Stagecoach 49% Virgin. Strangely, East Coast is not part of Virgin Rail Group like West Coast and the former Cross Country.
Image

I suspect that Virgin Trains East Coast inherited a better online booking system from Directly Operated Railways and have sensibly decided not to break it yet.
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atoz
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby atoz » 17 Jun 2017, 12:11am

Sweep wrote:
atoz wrote:Yes I have just noticed this. The website is a joke. I suspect that in my case the issue is that the website cannot distinguish between which part of the journey needs a cycle reservation and which doesn't,

No - that's not the case. It's just junk full stop.

My journeys on Virgin are all point to point/no changes.

It can't book bikes full stop.

As I've said above, once the ****ing ticket is booked I find taking a bike on a Virgin train a joy.


Sorry I didn't read your earlier post- apologies.

For the journey I had planned, it works out cheaper hiring a bike at the destination rather than paying top whack just to take the bike down on the train. The fare difference is pure extortion. British Rail had it's problems, but nothing like this.

Roll on re-nationalisation..Citizen Corbyn gets my vote every time with this one.

orangebiker
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Re: Booking cycle reservations on Virgin Trains

Postby orangebiker » 17 Jun 2017, 2:13pm

I disagree with whoever above said that taking a train on Virgin is fine once you've booked the ticket. I find the staff rude, obstructive, disrespectful, and have many times found that despite booking a reservation, no-one is available to unlock the special door either getting on or getting off. This has resulted in frantically running up and down the platform trying to find someone, and then being blamed for making the train late. Frequently they tell you to wait in a particular place, only for it to be the other end of a very long train. You then have to get to the other end as fast as you can (having taken off all your luggage you then have to try to carry this as well because they don't allow it to be left on the bike and they don't give you time to take it off once the train arrives), only to be told off when you get there 'you should have asked someone which end it was' the whole thing is depressing in the extreme and can ruin an otherwise good day because of the stress. This is on the West Coast line - maybe that is worse than the East Coast. Other companies such as London Midland, Northern, Transpennine seem to have far nicer staff even if the bike facilities are often full of pushchairs.